December 16. 2020

The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear-minded and sober, so that you can pray. Above all, love one another deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without complaining. As good stewards of the manifold grace of God, each of you should use whatever gift he has received to serve one another. If anyone speaks, he should speak as one conveying the words of God. If anyone serves, he should serve with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen. -1 Peter 4:7-11 BSB

Warrior;

What a practical letter from Peter.  It seems so apropos for the time we are living in.  The entire 4th chapter of this epistle is to the point, and spot on with where we are at in the TIMES OF THE WORLD.  The letter itself was written about 60-65 A.D. This letter was written to believers who had been dispersed throughout the ancient world and were under intense persecution. Peter, like Paul, and many of the great early leaders of the church, understood persecution. Peter, like many of the apostles, and early church leaders was beaten, threatened, punished, and jailed for preaching the Word of God. The key point is that Peter and the others, knew what it took to endure through mistreatment and unfairness, without bitterness, without losing HOPE, FAITH and LOVE, and living an obedient, victorious life centered on the glory of God and bringing honor to Jesus through their actions, not just their words. This knowledge of ‘A LIVING HOPE’, in Jesus was the message of their lives and the message of this letter.  Peter also sets Christ’s example as the one to follow- not his, not Paul’s, not Barnabas or Black, not Mom or Dad- but Christ!  He is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE- what He did and does, we shall do and did!

Leader, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3) If you are a child of God, then you know what it feels like to be aliens, strangers in a foreign land- Just like those that Peter was writing this epistle to. Whether we are talking the outcome of an election- you knew was going to be different, or living in a country where we once could be openly Christian, but now we need to be ‘hidden’ with our beliefs- things have changed and we are called to be like CHRIST, no matter what the environment or the culture deems appropriate or acceptable. But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be shaken.” But in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give a defense to everyone who asks you the reason for the hope that is in you. But respond with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who slander you may be put to shame by your good behavior in Christ. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. (1 Peter 3:14-17) This is our MARK as a true follower, and one that I have been missing- sinning, by being righteously indignant.

Conduit, Peter gives us the standard and he also shows us the way that Jesus showed him! Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does. (1 Peter 4:1-6) Peter closes out his letter by giving us his final thoughts about how we shall live in this ever-darkening, once great country; As good stewards of the manifold grace of God, each of you should use whatever gift he has received to serve one another. If anyone speaks, he should speak as one conveying the words of God. If anyone serves, he should serve with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen. Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. (1 Peter 4:10-11,19) This is our standard, we must be like God, treating others with Love, even though they seem to be loveless! We must work to keep our focus on Christ, so that we can be who we are called to be, not because of the environment we live in, but because of the Savior and Lord we serve! We represent CHRIST, we are HIS LETTERS! It is time for our actions to speak louder than our sermons! You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart. (2 Corinthians 3:2-3)

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